A Norfolk Road Trip

Get all the Key Highlights on our Norfolk Road Trip

Norfolk is a little gem on the eastern side of  England, It offers a remarkable tapestry of experiences for motorhomers that want to combine a blend of city culture with the serene natural beauty that is on offer. As my home county, I have lived in Norfolk for most of my life. It is also where my children were both bought up and went to school! So this is a county I know like the back of my hand. 

At the heart of this county lies the wonderful  city of  Norwich. A city that harmoniously blends medieval charm with modern vibrancy. And of course everyone knows the local phrase ‘On the ball city’ and the one Delia Smith made famous ‘Lets be ‘avin’ ya!’ when she went on the pitch at Norwich City Football grounds. Take some time to enjoy my beautiful city of Norwich before heading out to enjoy the North Norfolk coast. The road trip we have created has several stops on the way.

After leaving Norwich the landscape unfolds into the breath-taking coastlines. A huge stretch of unspoiled beaches, salt marshes, endless skies and picturesque coastal villages. This area is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts too. It has so many opportunities for walking, bird watching or simply soaking in the panoramic sea views. The coastline’s natural beauty is enhanced by the quiet atmosphere, which makes it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.  A north Norfolk road trip will certainly not disappoint you – you have everything in one place. 

Cley on Sea - North Norfolk Road Trip
Cley on Sea - North Norfolk Road Trip

Norfolk Road Trip - Jump to...

How to Get to Norfolk, England

Whether you are in your motorhome or looking to hire a motorhome, campervan or car when you get here, these are the key ways to get to Norfolk:

Norwich International Airport

There are a number of regional locations that fly into Norwich airport: Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Manchester, Exeter, Jersey and Guernsey

Norwich Train Station

Trains from London (South of England) and Peterborough (North) come regularly into Norwich Train Station

Key Trunk Roads

The main trunk roads into Norfolk are the A10 from the north, A11 if coming from the south and A12 to bring you in straight on the coast from the south

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Use our handy ready made PDF planner to help you plan your trip. We created a 9 day planner to use to plan a 1 week trip. Simply print out more copies for each week of your travels. Capture everything you need from your start and end points to where you will stay. There is space to write all the things you want to see and more. Plenty of room for jotting down notes as you plan too. 

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What Is The Best Time For Your Norfolk Road Trip?

Norfolk in Spring

The springtime is great to see all the flowers starting to bloom in the stately homes and woodland walks.  The bluebells in Sandringham Estate are just beautiful and although you won’t get tea with the King, you can get an afternoon tea for a very reasonable price.

Many of the stately homes also do Easter Egg hunts, which is great if you have kids with you! There are a number of walking trails around Norfolk and springtime is a great time to explore on foot. It is also lambing season at Wroxham Barns which is great for the inner child in us!  I used to take the kids to Wroxham Barns all the time when they were little. 

In May you will also find the Norfolk and Norwich festival and the Crab & Lobster Festival too. It is usually held towards the end of May.

Norfolk in Summer

July and August are the warmest months to visit Norfolk and the north Norfolk Coast. It is also the busiest time, with the coastal villages all bustling with day trippers and holiday makers. The north Norfolk coast roads are busier but the beaches are so big, they never get really crowded. You can always find a spot in the sand dunes near Winterton on Sea. 

Motorhome campsites may get booked up early. So don’t leave this to the last minute if you are not wild camping.  One of the really popular ones, Burnham Deepdale, you really do need to book in advance. 

Norfolk in Autumn

September is a lovely time to visit Norfolk. The summer crowds have gone home, the days are still warm and everything is still open for ‘the season’.  The wildlife is still active, birds have not yet migrated and all of the outdoor activities work well at this time of year.

Thetford forest is a great place for activities, with a sea of autumnal leaves in various shades. You can get your bikes out, go walking or wildlife spotting. You can even treat yourself to a spa day if that’s what you fancy.

Norfolk in Winter

There is a lot to do in Norfolk in the winter. We have the Christmas markets to buy gifts and treats before the big day. Norfolk is also home to Thursford Christmas Spectacular, which is the biggest Christmas show outside of London.  You need to get tickets though, so be sure to book in advance. 

The weather can be frosty and the air is clear and you may find yourself the only person on the beach.  The sights of tens of thousands of migratory geese flying at first light inland to find food is spectacular and can be seen at Snettisham Wildlife Reserve. It is also much easier for wild camping around the Norfolk coast when it is out of season. Obviously, as per the law, you should only do this with the landowners permission.

Norfolk Road Trips
Beach huts at Holkham Beach

Norfolk Road Trip at a Glance

Your Norfolk Road Trip Itinerary

~ Norwich ~ Wroxham ~ Winterton ~ Blickling Hall ~ Sheringham ~ Holt ~ Kelling Heath ~ Salthouse & Cley ~ Blakeney ~  Little Walsingham ~  Holkham ~ Burham Market ~ Sandringham Estate ~

Our road trip in Norfolk starts with a visit to the beautiful city of Norwich. From Norwich , the road trip heads out towards the Norfolk Broads before reaching the coast. At this point, it follows the stunning scenery of the north Norfolk coastline, dipping inland to the occasional stately home before ending at Sandringham. 

Norfolk Road Trip Itinerary

Norwich

Norwich – A Fine City. And the perfect place to start your road trip. It will not be difficult to spend 2 days exploring Norwich as, whatever your interest, there is so much to see. We have a A Weekend in Norwich city break itinerary if you would like to read more detail on what to do. 

Visit Pulls Ferry, an old 15th century ferry house – extremely photogenic – meander your way up to explore the 900 year old Norwich City Cathedral, the burial place of Edith Cavell. Make your way up to Elm Hill, the oldest and best preserved medieval street in Norwich.  Mostly destroyed by fire in 1507, the Briton Arms Inn was untouched and is now a lovely coffee house and eatery, an ideal place to stop.

There are loads of independent shops and cafes to visit in the Norwich Lanes and be sure to visit The Belgium Monk for the most extensive mussel menu I have seen outside of Belgium.

Norwich Market  caters for everything. Foods around the world, craft beers, pop up stalls and ones that have been there for as long as I can remember! I had a Saturday job here, selling Children’s clothing, Back then it was old canvas topped roofs – now they are more like colourful sheds.  It used to be the best place to go for a bacon roll and a cup of tea.

The main high street is fully pedestrianised and has all the regular shops you would expect to see in a city. There is also The Royal Arcade in Norwich, which was opened in 1899. A Victorian building with a heavy Art Nouveau influence, it houses more independent shops and art galleries.  One of the most popular pubs to stop at for a shopping break is The Lamb Inn. It is the second oldest pub in Norwich and said to have 3 ghosts. It has loads of outside seating undercover with heaters and it is always busy though!

You may want to head to Norwich Castle, where they have a museum as well as being able to take a trip to the dungeons. Or perhaps you fancy walking in the Norwich’s Secret Garden, which is near to the Catholic Cathedral.

There are so many places to eat in Norwich – it really is a food haven.  Some of my favourites are Benedicts with Richard Bainbridge, the already mentioned Belgium Monk,  Prime, the best steakhouse in Norwich and Bishops. All of these are ‘evening out’ type meals.

Norfolk Broads

The next couple of days are about messing about on the waters. Hire a boat for a half day self drive from Wroxham. Get tickets to join a river boat, or enjoy the wilder side of the broads in Hoveton, which is home to many different wildlife species. It is a great place to take your kayak out as well. If you have kids – Wroxham Barns or Bewilderwood are great nearby options, and will keep them entertained for at least 3 or 4 hours.

You can easily base yourself in Wroxham with your motorhome, as there is a train station in Wroxham, which will take you to Norwich in 30 minutes. Norwich station will lead you straight to the start of our Weekend in Norwich Itinerary, which starts with a river walk to the cathedral. 

Hoveton Hall has the most spectacular gardens, it’s a lovely place to stop off at on the way to Winterton on Sea. It is not open in the winter though, so do check times. A little on from here is the lesser know Barton Board Walk, a local secret.  

People tend to rush through Wroxham to get to the coast, but you can take a lovely little off-shoot from the main road to get the marshes of How Hill Nature Reserve. Take a completely different boat trip here through the marshes and also a circular walk through delightful habitat.

Winterton

Winterton on Sea is perhaps a little out of the way – but it is home to a whole colony of seals. The seals are often found along the stretch of Winterton Beach and within the Winterton Dunes Nature Reserve. This area is particularly popular for grey and common seals, especially during the winter months when grey seals come ashore to give birth to their pups. The seals can be spotted resting on the beach or bobbing in the waters just off the coast.

 

Winterton on Sea is a cute little village, with active village life, including a chippy, a pub and a café. If you are road tripping in your car, there are lots of lovely places to stay in Winterton on Sea.

Lots of seals laying on the sand at the beach in Winterton
Winterton Beach Seals

Blickling Hall & Felbrigg Hall

As you approach the North Norfolk coast, you will come to Blickling Hall first and then Felbrigg Hall when you drive in from the coastal roads if you have been to Winterton to see the seals. Both  are National Trust estates.  Blickling Hall also holds many wonderful concerts, having hosted big names such as Tom Jones, Bryan Adams and Lionel Richie to name a few.

If Blickling Hall takes you just a bit further from the coast than you would like, you could always drive straight round to the coastal town of Cromer from Winterton and just take in Felbrigg. 

Your next stop after the beautiful Felbrigg National Trust house takes you past Cromer, which is one of the  most famous North Norfolk coastal seaside towns.  You can buy fresh Cromer crab hauled daily. Cromer still has a very active fishing industry and there are lots of camp sites around this area.  You can do a nice 4.5 mile circular walk from Cromer to Overstrand along the coast then come inland a little before returning to your start point – The Red Lion Pub.

Sheringham & Holt

Sheringham is just 5 miles down the road from Cromer. If you time your Norfolk road trip right, you may catch the Crab and Lobster festival, which operates between the two towns. There is another beautiful walk around Sheringham, which again takes in a mixture of coastal paths and woodland walk. 

For a really cool experience on your Norfolk road trip, why not take the next part of your road trip by train? Steam Train! The North Norfolk Poppy Line will take you between Sheringham and Holt and allow you to hop off at Weybourne too. Its such a beautiful trip, very nostagic. 

 Holt is such a pretty town. Full of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and little nooks and crannies stuffed with little artisan shops and galleries. It is not often that I recommend going to a department store, but Bakers and Larners of Holt has been there for over 200 years and is the Fortnum and Mason of Holt! It has some great restaurants too, Byfords of Holt is always busy so you will have to book if you want to get in for an afternoon tea. 

1* Michelin restaurant Meadowsweet is in Holt. One of 3 Michelin star eateries on the North Norfolk coast, you will need to book in advance because it does get booked up.

Kelling Heath

Kelling Heath is your next stop, to catch Salthouse Marshes and Cley marshes on the coast. Fill your days with wildlife walks, photography and bird watching or long walks amongst some quite beautiful scenery, beaches woodland and country lanes. A walk from Kelling Heath to Cley on Sea is only an hour and a half. It is a great place to park up for a day or two. 

The Salthouse Marshes and Cley have some great walks which you can do, taking in dramatic scenery, beach walks and bird spotting on the way. It is home to six bird hides and you are highly likely to see a bird photographer or two on your walks around this area. Be sure to stop at Cley Smoke House. It is absolutely wonderful, and you might get the chance to see them smoking fish on the premises, it is a fascinating process and something really unique on your Norfolk road trip.  

Norfolk Road Trip Cley Smoke House

Blakeney

Blakeney is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and a great place to spend a day or more just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The harbour is delightful, with little flint cottages which are so traditional on the North Norfolk Coast and cute little shops to peruse. One of the most popular things to do when in Blakeney is to take a boat trip out to the point to watch the seals. There are several boating companies that go out each day, but of course the timings depend on the tide. 

Try your hand at crabbing off the side of the quay. There are always loads of people trying to tempt a crab with a bit of bacon on the end of the line. The skill is to get them all the way up the harbour wall and into your bucket! Obviously you throw all the crabs back in the water to fight another day. 

When I was younger, my sister and I used to walk with our mum and dad to Blakeney Point. We always used to end up with water pouring in our wellies, skirts tucked in our knickers, gathering armfuls of samphire to cook. Samphire grows freely in this area.  I took my own children camping here too, over 20 years ago now, its just an idyllic seaside village, great to spend a summers day or longer. 

Norfolk Road Trip - Close to Everything!
Norfolk Road Trip - Close to Everything!

A second Michelin star restaurant which is between Blakeney and Wells Next The Sea is Morston Hall, home of celebrity chef Galton Blackiston. Again, booking is required.

Little Walsingham

After leaving Blakeney, a stop at  the religious pilgrimage village of Little Walsingham is an interesting site, regardless of whether you are religious or not. The village dates back to Saxon times and Kings and Queens of England made a pilgrimage to this special place. It is said to be England’s Nazareth.

A stop at the award winning farm shop is recommended. It has the most wonderful array of local foods, so perfect to stock up the motorhome fridge. Binham Blue is a cheese not to be missed.

Wells Next The Sea is a pretty harbour town along this stretch of endlessly beautiful North Norfolk beaches. It has just about managed to miss the ‘bucket and spade’ brigade. Seafood huts on the front selling locally caught fish, delicious ice-creams and fish and chips to eat. A good walk out to the spit, it is a very tidal beach – it is easy to get caught out – the sea comes in around you. Many people have been cut off before. 

You could take the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, which takes 30 minutes. It is the longest 10 1/4" narrow gauge steam railway in the world and you can find it on your Norfolk Road Trip!  

Holkham

You can spend an entire day just at Holkham. With Holkham Hall, the stately home offering loads of activities depending on the time of year, walks on the magnificent beaches and lunch at The Vic.  The North Norfolk Food and Drink festival is held at Holkham at the end of August, host to many delicious local businesses along with the customary cooking theatre. 

If you stop at Holkham beach, you may get the joy of seeing the Household Cavalry exercising their horses! They come for a summer holiday in July for a weekend. Seeing loads of horses galloping on the beach is a pretty awesome sight I can tell you.

Burnham Market

Burnham Market, also know as Chelsea on Sea, is very cosmopolitan village, full of boutique shops, lovely little cafes and a couple of nice bars and restaurants. It is the place I spent my first ‘family Christmas’  after I decided to live fulltime in a motorhome! We rented a lovely AirBnB and the family drove from Norwich, Southampton and Surrey to spend 4 wonderful days together. So it has great memories for me on a personal front.

You can enjoy a lovely walk in the National Trust Burnham Overy Staithe, 6.4km circular route taking in some of the best scenery there is on this coastline. Or Enjoy the linked North Norfolk ‘Burnhams’ by taking in a 10km circular walk which takes in Burnham Overy, Burnham Staithe and Burnham Norton.

Sandringham Estate

The final part of your visit in the North Norfolk part of your road trip will end in Sandringham. The route now will take you past an areas of outstanding natural beauty so a wonderful way to draw your trip to a close. Your approach will take you first to Brancaster and very close by, the next stop of Titchwell.

Brancaster is famous for its sandy beaches and never ending big skies. It is a coastal village with a history of shellfish farming and another great place to take a boat trip. You really must check the tide times as the road gets cut off by flooding. It is too deep for a car to get through and between the road and the beach, there are accidents and even fatalities, every year. The famous SS Vina is a shipwreck that lies on Brancaster beach and it reveals itself at low-tide. The wreck can be reached, but again, you must check the tide times. Many people have been in trouble by going over to the wreck as the sea comes round you, cutting you off. The tides are very strong here too. 

The Brancaster White Horse does a Champagne and Oyster festival, which is just a chilled place to have lunch (if you like oysters!). Brancaster is also home to a rather lovely Norfolk Micro Brewery, in the Jolly Sailors Pub, so if you are staying overnight in your motorhome, it could be a good chance to sample some local ale. 

 Depending on which route you take to get to Sandringham, Titchwell Marsh is one of the best bird watching places in Norfolk. You reach it by taking the Kings Lynn route. If you take the Kings Lynn road, you will also pass Norfolk Lavender, which is a 100 acre site of lavender, all the lavender goodies you could want and a fantastic farm shop. 

Now you are on the home straight towards the Royal Sandringham Estate. They have lots of events throughout the year, so keep checking the calendar, but every Saturday they have a park run and every Sunday they have dog training. I have to confess, I haven’t done the dog training but the park run is really cool!  

You can walk for miles in the gorgeous parkland and walk round the gardens. In spring, the snowdrops and bluebells are just beautiful. Of course they also have a farm-shop, full of delicious things like jam, biscuits and chocolates which you may want to treat yourself to. 

Major Hiking Trails

There are two big hikes that can be done in Norfolk: 

Pedders Way follows the route of an old Roman road from Knetishall Heath in Suffolk, to Holme-next-the-sea for 46 miles. It is a fairly easy walk through forests and heathlands until it gets to Holme-next-the-sea and joins the Norfolk Coast Walk. 

The Norfolk Coast Walk is 84 miles of salt marsh, sand dunes and pine tree woods – trailing mostly through Norfolk’s Area of Natural Beauty from Hunstanton to Hopton on Sea. You can complete the walk in sections so it is possible to walk just part of the North Norfolk Coast Walk. One of the most scenic parts is that at Holkham (although that is subjective of course!). 

Camping and Motorhome Park-Ups

There are plenty of campsites in Norfolk, from the small independent campsites to the larger ‘Club’ style campsites which are near the coast.  Some of them are hugely popular – Burnham Deepdale gets really booked up, so booking in advance is necessary.   Sandringham Estate has a big campsite which you can book via the Caravan Club or the Camping and Caravan Club – it is more expensive for non club members. 

Wild Camping in Norfolk can be done, but it is not always easy depending on the time of year you visit. You may get moved on, you certainly need to be discreet and as always, leave only footsteps. Around the North Norfolk coastal areas, is a little more problematic too. Our article on wild camping rules and the essentials of wild camping will at least ensure you are prepared.

Festivals in Norfolk

Norfolk has a plethora of festivals at different times of the year. The following are amongst my favourites, but there are loads more to check out too:

Maui Waui Festival –  A great festival for families and adults alike. With multiple stages and tents in the heart of Norfolk staging cabaret, comedy, music and more. It even has a fixed circus tent!

Houghton International Horse Trials – If you like horses and eventing then this is a great event to go to in May. When I last went, they even had camel racing, which was hilarious.

Burnham Market also has an international horse show, held in April. Burnham is one of the stops on our road trip so it could coincide. 

The Royal Norfolk Show – held in June, is always busy. With lots of agriculture stuff (tractors anyone? It’s Norfolk!). A great day out with the kids, its just on the outskirts of Norwich.

Sandringham Flower Show – another fabulous event held in July, it is a gardeners delight. With gardens designed by the best – you might even see the King.

North Norfolk Food & Drink Festival – Held at Holkham Hall, mid September, you can eat your way around Holkham for 2 days with the most delightful food on offer, including the ever popular cooking theatres. 

Does Norfolk Deliver for a Road Trip

Without a doubt, the answer is a resounding yes. A journey through Norfolk takes you on a captivating adventure from the historic streets of Norwich, across the tranquil waterways of the Norfolk Broads, around the North Norfolk coast where the skies and the beaches go for mile, ending in the royal grounds of Sandringham Estate. 

Each stop offers its own unique charm, making a Norfolk road trip an incredibly diverse experience. This all combine to create an unforgettable road trip adventure.

Top FAQ's for Norfolk

Why is North Norfolk so popular?

Of course there are many reasons why Norfolk is so popular – but its’ endless skies, beautiful beaches, cobbled houses, birdwatching areas, boating possibilities, grey seal breeding colony (a natural wildlife success story) and medieval history are probably some of the key reasons! 

The biggest attractions about Norfolk is probably the Norfolk Broads and also the massive skies and beaches along its beautiful coastline. The Norfolk Broads were man made and there are over 125 miles of lock free boating to be enjoyed. 

It is actually surprisingly easy to get to Norfolk. If you are driving, you have good trunk roads to get into Norfolk and Norwich, which is in the centre of Norfolk. It is well serviced by plane with Norwich International Airport. It also has a train station in Norwich, which has good access from London and the North, via Peterborough. 

Yes, the Norfolk coast has so much to offer, from the seaside Kiss Me Quick of Yarmouth, sandy beaches of Cromer, the beach huts in Wells and Holkham to the harbour wall crab catching in Blakeney. Endless walks, cosy pubs and cafes and delightful food.

It is very easy to visit the Norfolk Broads by motorhome, car or bicycle too. You can catch a train directly from Norwich and be in Wroxham, the main town on the Broads in about 15 minutes.  You can take your bike on the train if you want to do some cycling around some of the smaller and more beautiful broads rivers.

As with any holiday, it can be as  cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Norfolk has lots of options for a budget holiday, because it has so many beautiful places to visit for free. The beaches, beautiful walks and wonderful food options that won’t cost the earth. Of course you can camp, hostel, hotel or wild camp (although strictly speaking, you should have the land owners permission first). 

There are a few places you can hire a boat for a trip on the Norfolk Broads. The easiest place is Wroxham, as it is a stop on our road trip. However you can find places near Potter Heigham and Stalham too.

Norfolk is one of the most dog friendly places I know. There are a number of beaches that have restrictions in place between 1st May and 30th September. These are Bacton, Cromer, Mudesley, Overstarnd, Sea Palling, West Runton, Walcott and Sheringham.  Beaches with no restrictions are: East Runton, Eccles-On-Sea, Sidestrand, Waxham, Weybourne and Winterton. 

The Blue Flag is the worlds most recognised award for beaches and marinas and stringent criteria need to be met to earn one. As of 2023, there are Blue Flag awards for Sheringham, Cromer and West Runton. Seaside Awards are in place for Hunstanton Main, East Runton, Mundesley and Sea Palling. The awards for 2024 are given around May 2024

 

Yes, you can fish off the beaches in Norfolk. You must have a valid fishing licence though, but once you have that, you can catch bass, tope, whiting and cod.  In the summer you can catch mackerel.  Walcott and Bacton provide year round fishing. You find night fishing around Weybourne, Sheringham, West Runton and Cromer. 

Norfolk and Suffolk Road Trip

If you have the time and are leisurely driving your motorhome or car and exploring over a longer period of time, we have a Suffolk Road Trip, which would work very well with this beautiful North Norfolk Road Trip, giving you the best of both worlds in this beautiful part of England. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you found it useful, please do share with others using the share buttons below. If you think we have missed something – please do let us know. We read all our emails! 

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